Five Raiser’s Edge Import Challenges Addressed by ImportOmatic

Nov 11, 2013

Are you using more than just The Raiser’s Edge to track data or manage your daily business processes? In today’s environment, it is hard to find an organization that is using just one system. Most organizations have different systems for their various departments or needs. For example, you may have a separate volunteer or event management system to assist with the complex registration and tracking for these areas, or maybe you have a separate student or payroll database, and most have an online donation page where they receive donations. When an organization uses outside systems, there is commonly a need to share this data with The Raiser’s Edge for the holistic view of your constituents. However, getting this data into The Raiser’s Edge can present some challenges when using the standard importing capabilities.

I have an opportunity to speak with nonprofit organizations on a daily basis and often the topic revolves around importing data into The Raiser’s Edge (RE). Through those discussions, I have heard some common issues surface that I would like share with you:

  1. Formatting Header Rows – This is a required process that seems to be a pain point/frustration to many RE users when starting to map the import template. RE requires you to “properly” format the header rows. This means the header in the data file must match the field in RE. This process can not only require some level of expertise or digging, but it can also be a time consuming task to just create the import file.
  2. Required Import ID’s – Another common frustration is the required IDs. In various places within RE import, IDs are required for updating records. The challenge though is that many times IDs are not the same across systems causing a challenge to easily update, say the address record. Obviously with a restriction like IDs in some areas, the flexibility to an import is limited.
  3. Inconsistent Data – Have you ever viewed a file where the data was in all upper case or street names were abbreviated? It seems you never receive a data file that is consistent, yet if RE is going to be a central database and the place where mailings and other actions come from – it is critical that there are standards and consistencies to your data.
  4. Dealing with Exceptions – I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard how challenging or obscure the exceptions are when importing in RE. The average RE user is not able to “decode” or understand these exceptions, making it very difficult to correct any errors.
  5. Time Consuming – When preparing for an import into RE, there are many considerations and tasks that need to be performed. There may be the need for data manipulation, formatting, splitting of files, looking up of IDs, etc. As a challenge a few years ago, we gave some staff one of the most complex files we could come up with and asked them to import it into RE using the standard import and to document the process. After a few days, several pages of documentation, and many glares – we decided our point of how time consuming a challenging import using the standard RE import can be was made.

If you are like the organizations we speak with daily, I am sure at least one of these challenges resonates with you… and trust me, there are a lot more! However, after years of hearing these similar challenges (and more) we decided to address these for RE users. Today, these challenges are resolved through the use of ImportOmatic which provides you with a flexible, easy to use, import solution for The Raiser’s Edge. ImportOmatic addresses all of the challenges I have listed by:

  • Not requiring specific name formatting of your header rows
  • Eliminating the need for many IDs
  • Automatic translation and standardizing of data for consistency through the import process
  • Providing clear identifiers to deal with exceptions and easy to understand exception reporting
  • Cutting overall time spent importing by reducing required steps and allowing users to import multiple different data elements simultaneously, with more flexibility, in less time

The next time you use the standard importing functionality, take a moment to notice the actual process to see if you face any of these challenges. We have worked with over 1,500 clients to enhance their importing experience… check out what some of them have to say about ImportOmatic.


Omatic Software
Omatic Software is dedicated to integrating disparate systems and democratizing data access for today’s nonprofits. Founded in 2002, Omatic has worked with thousands of nonprofits globally to remove their data barriers by integrating systems and enabling nonprofit teams to leverage their donor data rather than be burdened by it. The Omatic team has one goal – unleashing the power of data to show a complete view of your donor, enabling data-driven decision making and opportunity creation for your organization.